A Nation Mourns While Looking For Answers

Posted on December 17, 2012

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Another senseless mass murder in a year that has had an epidemic of them. This time the horror took place at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut. Eighteen five and six year olds were slaughtered along with seven adults. The families of those taken may never fully recover from the shock of this tragedy. How do parents explain to the other children that they don´t need to live in fear.

People will report on statistics to show that mass murders are not on the increase but are about normal. They will point out that the mass murder death tolls are a tiny fraction of the total number of Americans murdered each year. Yet it is the mass murders that grab the nation’s attention. There are many reasons for that and most of them are obvious. One reason is that when people hear about one of these  mass murders they understand how vulnerable they and their families are. When mass murders happen in schools, malls, or places of worship without warning, they know they can do everything right in their lives and still fall victim to the unexplainable.

The Fox News headline this morning quotes President Obama saying these senseless killings must stop. That is what we would expect a President to say. But, what are we as a nation willing to do to put a stop to this insanity? Are we prepared to have a serious adult conversation about what can be done to reduce the number of these incidences?

I listened to a Fox News video clip this weekend of Charles Krauthammer in which he said Americans will mostly fall in three camps. Most will focus on gun control, others will focus on societal issues like violence in movies and video games, and others will focus on the psychology of the shooter. Steve Dennis of America’s Watchtower had  much the same thoughts. I think they are right. So, the likelihood of there being a serious adult conversation on this issue are slim and none. That is a shame. It is a shame because I believe there are things that we could do that would have a positive impact on the frequency of these mass murders.

Gun Control

This is where many politician and the media will want to lead the discussion. Blaming the instrument used to kill instead of the person who killed is always the easiest thing to do. We can not know what these killers would have done if the guns they used had not been available to them. Would they have found other means to carry out their killing?

Is there anything that defenders of the Second Amendment can suggest about how to convince gun owners to keep their arms secured from children or others nat authorized by the owner to have access to the guns? If Mrs. Lanza had hers guns in a dun safe, would Adam have done what he did?

We know that countries like Switzerland and Israel that most of their citizens have arms and know how to use them, but they don’t have mass murder problems like the US. We know that a country like Venezuela, which has strict control laws has a gun related death rate much higher than the US, but doesn’t have a mass murder problems. So, what is different about the US?

Mental Illness and Psychotropic Drugs

In the video clip mentioned above, Charles Krauthammer said he believed we need to focus on the psychology of the shooters. My friend, Brian, at Frankenstein Government is an ex-chief of police and based on his experience he, also, thinks we need to be looking at the issue of how we deal with mental illness in this country.

When you are prescribed medication for mental health issues the translation is that we don’t have any way of fixing you so society’s answer is that we will just medicate you for 40 or 50 years and hope that everything turns out well. Medication is not a cure. It never has been. For millions and millions of undiagnosed and/or depressed people many simply self medicate with booze, pot, or maybe some valium.

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We have been sold this ridiculous notion that we can fix broken people with some magical compound while ignoring all internal and external influences on this person. In an emergency room, they might refer to this as a mechanism of injury. If you don’t know the precise mechanism of injury- you cannot possibly hope to properly treat the underlying illness.

Brian is making a good point. The republican Mother put up a twelve-minute video you should watch when you have time. Among other things the video shows one psychiatrist after another claiming that many of the anti-depressant drugs routinely prescribed by psychiatrists to their patients actually can cause suicidal and homicidal thoughts to occur in the patient. One doctor commented that the frequency of mass murders has increased since the advent and use of psychotropic drugs. These psychiatrist are obviously not the majority of psychiatrists or we wouldn’t continue to treat mental illness with these drugs. I was irritated by the comment of one doctor that said: “When is the public going to wake up?” How is the public supposed to wake up unless doctors like these write a report and call a news converence and make this issue news?

Conclusion

Gun control is not the answer. However, if we could find ways to convince gun owners to keep their guns secure, it might help a little.

We could and should have a national discussion on the rot that has infested our culture. The breakdown of family values. But, we will find no quick answers there. It took many decades to destroy our culture. Reclaiming it, if possible, will take decades as well.

The one area that could produce some near=term improvement in the frequency of mass murders in the US, is in how we as a nation treat mental illness. We used to keep the mentally ill institutionalized. As a society we decided that was inhumane. So, now the Psychiatry profession treats our disturbed children with drugs that, in some cases, so more harm than good. Until this profession decides to have an honest discussion on the subject, we will be missing a real opportunity to do something positive about this horrendous problem. I am not optimistic that this conversation will take place. Maybe we bloggers can help push the issue to the front burner.

Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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